The trouble with a healthy diet for kids is that, unless you are already eating healthy yourself, it’s more effort for you. Because the same foods that make up a healthy diet for adults can do the same for kids.
A little friend of my daughter recently had a dance recital we attended. I was horrified to see how many overweight kids there were. When I was in school (many years ago!), there were so few children that were overweight. What’s happened?
Yes, in no small part, I do believe it’s due to a lack of a healthy diet for kids. I know, I know, we all ate a lot of sugar and food coloring, etc, when we were kids. But there’s a lot more pollution in many different forms than there used to be. Water, air, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones/antibiotics in meat, well, it all contributes to a toxic sludge that is over what the body can easily flush out on its own. And then you add the “new and improved” preservatives in food (although I’m now being told by commercial “mind control” that high fructose corn syrup is good for me! What am I, an idiot?) Anyway, the FDA even is now on board with recommendations for NINE servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you eat just three meals per day, can you do the math on that? Your meals are mostly fruits and vegetables, the way it should be. But, how many people do you know who are coming anywhere close to that? Do you and your kids eat that way?
I’ll give you an example from my own life to demonstrate. Today my daughter has (so far-we haven’t had dinner yet) apple slices with peanut butter (natural, not the ones with added sugar), pasta with tomato sauce, roast beef and fries (that was my mother-in-laws meal, not mine!), grapes, and strawberries. I’ll attempt to get two servings of veggies in at dinner. It’s easier to get the kids to eat fruit than vegetables, but I’ll take fruit over chips, pretzels and candy any day. If you count spaghetti sauce (again not the one with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup)as a serving of veggies, she’s at four. Plus at least one more for dinner, so that’s pretty good and that’s on a day I didn’t have full control of her menu.
Yes, it can be a little extra work, but I feel that so much of my kids health, both now and in the future, is dependent on developing healthy eating habits. And my husband and I try to eat very healthy, too, for ourselves and to set an example, so it’s really a family affair.
I think, too, that kids just aren’t as active as they once were. I’m certainly not lecturing you from MY perfect little world, don’t get me wrong, ’cause I know it’s convenient to let the TV “babysit”. And my daughter would be quite the couch tater if it were up to her. So I try to keep tabs on the time she spends watching TV. She’s still a little young to worry about video games yet.
But this article is geared toward the healthy diet for kids, so let’s get back to that. Kids learn by example, more than anything else, so it’s vitally important for parents to lead. It’s the best thing for the whole family. And I know some of you may object with such complaints as “My kids won’t eat fruits” or fill-in-the-blank with whatever healthy food. SO, one tip for parents with very young kids is: Start early, Start now! And if your kids are a little older, well, I may be a big meanie, but when my girl asks for a snack, I give her a few choices, like carrots or an apple, and she can pick from those. Or, if she asks for something specifically crappy, like cheese crackers, I often will negotiate by having her eat something healthy first. If they don’t know any better than to eat healthy, that’s the best scenario of all, but it’s awfully challenging to shield them from all the junk food.
By the way, since I wrote the paragraph on my daughter’s menu for the day, we’ve since had dinner. She had a bit of sweet corn and zucchini with some steak and baked potato slices with the skin on. Side note: Leaving the skin on your potatoes keeps the acid/alkaline balance in proper proportion. So when I pan-fry, bake, or make mashed potatoes, I don’t bother peeling. It’s healthier and less work!
Just like anything else, it takes some practice and a little time to incorporate a healthy diet for kids and you into your everyday lifestyle. But it’s worth it.